updated 10:25 am EST, Thu March 5, 2009
Obama Picks Kundra as CIO
President Obama this morning officially named Vivek Kundra as the US government's federal Chief Information Officer. The decision is based on Kundra's experience as Chief Technology Officer for all of the DC government's agencies as well as a simultaneous Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Technology in Virginia. The CIO role takes on the task of overseeing the government's technology spending as well as improving its interoperability, privacy and security.
Obama has previously drawn on Kundra as one of the advisers for his technology policy and reflects this in the mandate he has set out for the new position, which he hopes will have government running in the "most secure, open, and efficient" form possible.
While aspects of net neutrality in the US' updated technology policy were primarily guided by new FCC head Julius Genachowski, Kundra is said by CNET News to have stressed efficiency as well as putting information online and making it more transparent. In DC, Kundra is well-known for establishing a district-wide government intranet based heavily on Google web apps; he has also used both Google and Apple to develop a content production system designed to provide government information to iPhones and other mobile devices.
While favoring the two companies in recent work, the new CIO is also recognized for a platform-agnostic approach that encourages open source, accessible code as well as receiving direct public input online.
Kundra and the Obama administration will ultimately be helped by the upcoming establishment of the first-ever federal Chief Technology Officer, who is to help both modernize the government as well as more formally guide national technology policy.